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Summer Hiking elopement under the Austrian Zugspitze

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A couple hiking on their elopement day stand under the Austrian Zugspitze, framed by pink wildflowers, reading their wedding vows

As far as locations go, this hiking elopement under the Austrian Zugspitze is one of the most impressive. The Zugspitze region straddles the German and Austrian border. The Austrian side has a dense collection of alpine lakes, with this one specifically being the most impressive.

If you both are passionate hikers and want a full, immersive two day hiking experience with an overnight hut stay, A&D’s gallery is for you.

Difficult circuit hike from the Ehrwalder Alm toward the Coburger Hut

A&D reached out knowing right from the beginning they wanted a very unique hike. They wanted something challenging that offered the most beautiful views in the area, that no one had done before for an elopement. I had just the place in mind, assuming the weather cooperated. There was a strong weather front moving in the day of their elopement, so with our weather window closing, we arrived a day early under pristine summer skies.

The hike starts from a busy parking lot. You’re able to skip the first steep section by taking a cable car up, although this means you’ll be starting later to accommodate the gondola operating times. We decided to go this route, and began the hike late morning.

This hike is not for the weak, either. The most beautiful route takes a rocky pass up and over the saddle, coming down on the lakes from above. Round trip, it’s 24km with an elevation gain of 1,369m. Our moving time was 6.5 hours, and total time out was 15 hours from start to finish.

I recommend an overnight stay in the Coburger hut to break up the hike and have a lot more time enjoying the views.

A couple hiking on their elopement day kiss under the Austrian Zugspitze, framed by yellow wildflowers.

All along this challenging hiking elopement under the Austrian Zugspitze, we had the views and the 10/10 weather to encourage us. We took lots of breaks for water, sunscreen and snack sausages!

A couple hours in, we reached the saddle and finally began the descent into the valley.

YOU’LL ALSO LOVE: Sunrise Austria Hiking elopement in early July

Outfit change and a stop to enjoy the impressive views

With some of the best views now in front of us, A&D wanted to change into something special. They planned a different outfit than their wedding clothes for this opportunity. She put on a flowing crimson dress that contrasted so well with the greens and blues of the surrounding mountains.

We spent about 30 minutes here enjoying the view over the Drachensee and taking photos. Only one other hiker passed us; we essentially had it all to ourselves. That’s also the benefit of doing harder hikes on your elopement day: fewer people.

A couple hiking on their elopement day stand near the Austrian Zugspitze, a dramatic grey mountain scape in front of them and deep blue lakes. She is wearing a red flowing dress and him a dark suit.

The beauty of this area in late June isn’t just in the grand views. On the way down, we got to enjoy the bursting wildflowers and an entire herd of sleepy sheep-ies.

A trip to Austria just isn’t complete without passing a bunch of cows or mountain sheep.

ALSO CHECK OUT: The Bavarian Zugspitze; Eibsee elopements across seasons

Hot Tyrolean food and cold beers at the Coburger hut

At this point, we’d been hiking for over 4 hours and it was definitely time for a break and food. When I tell you one of THE best things about hiking in the Alps is the food…here’s why. These mountain huts go back ages. They are so steeped in tradition and the food is as rich and soul healing as the views. I swear, the food in these huts is better than the food down in the towns! It’s also possible the food always tastes so good after hiking so long, but in effect it’s no difference.

We each ordered a well earned Knödel trio with side salad, some Spätzle and cold, tall Weizens. Regional classics.

Sitting outside under the summer sun, we had a full view of Seebensee in the distance. While they finished up their food, I hiked ahead a little to scout a location for their sunset vow ceremony.

For reserving a stay in the Coburger hut, go to their website here and book early.

This hiking elopement under the Austrian Zugspitze ends with a sunset vow ceremony and first dance

Just around the corner was a great little side trail leading to an open lookout. There were bright pink bushes full of wildflowers everywhere, and the Zugspitze towered over the valley like a sentinel in the distance. Seebensee reflected the trees and peaks around us as the sun glowed yellow to the west.

It was the perfect moment. A&D changed into their wedding outfits and prepared their vows.

Above us, a group of kids from the hut were playing hide and seek among the rocks. They gasped when they saw the white wedding dress blowing in the wind and waved at us. I waved back, and then brought my finger to my lips. They understood the gesture, and watched from a distance as A&D read their vows.

Over the next 10 minutes, they laughed, smiled and cried between sniffles and giggles. Even from the distance I was at, I could tell how much love and laughter they put into their words. The pink and white flowers swayed around them as the sun set lower behind the clouds.

A couple hiking on their elopement day stand under the Austrian Zugspitze, framed by pink wildflowers and swaying grasses, reading their wedding vows.

Their ceremony ended with a big hug and they then took a big breath and looked out at the mountains. In silence, they enjoyed the views for a while, taking it all in.

When they were ready, they motioned to me and we set up a bluetooth speaker so they could have a first dance.

They swayed back and forth to a romantic song, and then, to end on a high note, got down to some of their favorite EDM music. Don’t be afraid to get fun and funky on your elopement day, it makes all the difference!

A couple hiking on their elopement day stand shoulder to shoulder facing the Austrian Zugspitze, wearing wedding clothes.

The day ended there, after a massive adventure and a long hike back to the car ahead of us. We hiked down as dusk changed to dark, the temperatures going from cool to warm and humid as we got lower and lower in elevation.

By the time we reached the cars close to one in the morning, drops of rain were falling, warning us of the approaching weather front.

Choosing to move this elopement just one day ahead was the right call!!


I’m Mariah, an adventure elopement photographer based in Innsbruck, Austria. I moved from the United States to Germany/Austria in 2018 to chase my love of mountains, photography and a German guy who stole my heart.

I quickly learned I wasn’t the only one dreaming of a better way to get married…so I combined all those things! I’m now a full time adventure elopement photographer. I help other travel and outdoor obsessed couples embrace a “just us” wedding day surrounded by nature.

Join me?



What the couple said:

The wedding we wanted that everyone is jealous of.
The wedding that everyone asks to see photos of.
The wedding that everyone wishes they had, but didn’t do because they are doing what their parents want them to do.

I searched for elopement photographers for months across the US and Europe and I interviewed over 30. One night, I couldn’t sleep and at 2am I was searching for photographers and came across Mariah’s website. It immediately stood out from the hundreds of websites that I was looking at. I felt like she completely understood me, what I wanted out of a photographer, what I wanted out of a wedding…and most of all, the photos were beautiful. I also knew that we would be spending the whole day with a photographer, so I wanted to pick someone that we got along with and could talk to all day. Mariah was not pushy in the decision process and provided recommendations on where we could go based on our interests, so it made it very easy to choose her. We also wanted a photographer who was local, someone who had been to the location previously and understood where to go, how busy it would be, etc.

Initially, I wanted many locations to have a variety of photos with different backgrounds. Mariah’s #1 recommendation to us was this hike based on my interests, and we put full trust in her and went with her recommendation. I am so much happier that we did for a few reasons. 1. We never would have found this hike on our own.  2. We never would have done this hike on our own, especially this long of a hike! 3. We didn’t have to worry about which way to turn, what to bring, Mariah did that all for us. 4. It truly felt like a full day experience and that we got the most out of our day, whereas had we chosen many locations, we would have been running around from place to place and wouldn’t have been able to take it all in and truly enjoy the day. ” 

— A&D, Austrian Hiking elopement, July 2023



A couple hiking on their elopement day walk over snow on a pass near the Austrian Zugspitze, tall grey and green mountains behind them.
A couple hiking on their elopement day hug near the Austrian Zugspitze, framed by melting snow and tall rocky cliffs.
A couple hiking on their elopement day stand near the Austrian Zugspitze, a dramatic grey mountain scape in front of them and deep blue lakes below. The woman is wearing a red flowing dress and him a dark suit.
A couple hiking on their elopement day stand under the Austrian Zugspitze, framed by yellow and white wildflowers and a green lake, reading their vows.




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